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Felt is probably the oldest fabric known to mankind. The manufacturing process may have been refined over the centuries, but the principle & the basic raw material have remained unchanged.

Firstly it is necessary to choose good wool.  Not all wool makes felt, but a general rule of thumb is to look for lambs wool first and then a good felting wool like merino and fat tail, both of which can be found in Turkey. Fat tail is the wool which was traditionally used for felt making to create bulky useful items such as kepeneks for shepherds and nomadic carpets for yurts. Now that felt is moving to more contemporary fashion for items like hats coats and scarves, the merino wool is of a finer quality for these things.

After choosing the wool it must be washed and carded or combed to be in a useful form for felt making. The wool is then colored..traditionally with dye plants like madder root / weld / pomegranate skin and various leaves. Contemporary fashion demands and even wider range of colors therefore fiber reactive dyes are used  for a broader palate. Contemporary pieces also incorporate fabrics dyed to coordinate with the wools.

Wool and fabric pieces are laid out in layers sometimes as much as twice their size to take into account for shrinkages. Soapy water is the felting medium....this helps the wool fibers to move and weave themselves together. Once the wool fibers have moved past one another, they cannot move, creating a dense mat we call felt fabric. When fabric is part of the lamination, the wool fibers migrate through the weave of the fabric. All this meshing of fibers and fabric is done through the rolling or in Turkish, the cooking of the wool, the rythymic rolling weather by foot / hand or machine encourage the fiber movement. This when done by a master craftsman yields a unique hand crafted piece of fabric which is a breathable flexible waterproof organic as well as beautiful.

Crafting a piece of felt is a bit like building and painting the house at the same time, as the materials are laid out both the quality of the piece, the size, the design are all to be considered.

Finishing is done by washing and blocking and shaving to create to give exponentially more life to the piece. For garments and bags / the added accessories like straps and buttons are carefully chosen to enhance the piece and as for sikkes there are sometimes turbans to be added.

Our felt making artists are Selçuki & Ali, Mehmet Girgiç (Ikonium Studio), the artist of Tire Keçecilik and &Felt.

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